Automated text messages from insurance companies that tell a patient whether or not their prescription will be covered are helpful for doctors to find ways for their patients to get the best care, writes a contributor to Stat News.

About 95% of Americans have cellphones, and about 77% have smartphones. I work with a lot of patients of limited means — not all of them have cellphones, or even cellphones that receive text messages, but many of them do.

Whether they were about vitamins or vital medications, those text messages gave me a valuable an opportunity to intervene and reflect on what went right instead of lamenting what went wrong. When we talk about where a practitioner’s responsibility ends and a patient’s begins, what something like this teaches me is that it’s not a hard and fast line — it’s a gray zone, but one that we can all work in successfully if we look for opportunity rather than obstacles. For all the apps that help us track our health, it’s profound to me that a simple text message could have prevented a life-threatening condition and a trip back to the hospital.

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